WHO DG tells Nations to be prepared with new vaccines, ensure all people have access to the jab
GENEVA, Feb 1 (The CONNECT) - Pointing out that the reservoir of beta coronaviruses is large, and new crossovers to humans is likely, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked the nations to be prepared to face the crisis and not to be in a hurry to declare victory over COVID or surrender to the disease.
It is also clear that as this virus evolves, so vaccines may need to evolve, said WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Variants of SARS-CoV-2 may continue to escape neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccines against prior variants, he said.
“If we prepare now, the time required for large scale vaccine manufacture will be reduced and lives will be saved,” Dr Tedros said addressing the global media in a virtual briefing last night (IST).
This virus is dangerous, and it continues to evolve before our very eyes. WHO is currently tracking four sub-lineages of the Omicron variant of concern, including BA.2, he said.
“This virus will continue to evolve, which is why we call on countries to continue testing, surveillance and sequencing. We can’t fight this virus if we don’t know what it’s doing,” Dr Tedros the world must ensure all people have access to vaccines.
Since Omicron was first identified just 10 weeks ago, almost 90 million cases have been reported to WHO - more than were reported in the whole of 2020.
We are now starting to see a very worrying increase in deaths, in most regions of the world.
We’re concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of vaccines, and because of Omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible, and no longer necessary.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
More transmission means more deaths. We are not calling for any country to return to so-called lockdown. But we are calling on all countries to protect their people using every tool in the toolkit, not vaccines alone.